Gasparilla is the biggest race weekend in Tampa and about 15 people from work signed up. I had actually managed to run my first 5K on the treadmill in under 30 minutes just over a week before the race after switching my foot strike to the front instead of the heel. I read online that this may have been part of what has been causing the shin splints. After telling everyone at work how well I'd done, I had a confidence crisis and then didn't seem to be able to run at all. The day before the race we all went to the convention center downtown for the Expo and to buy long-sleeved running tops since a cold front had come through. I spent the whole afternoon telling everyone about my asthma as a child and how cold it is in England and that's probably why I never ran there etc. so that no one would expect me to actually show the next day. Dierdre (who has completed the Chicago marathon) told me that: "excuses are tools of incompetence - use them and you will amount to nothing." I got my act together (and hat and gloves) and we ran the race the following morning.
There were over 9,000 runners that day and it rained which made it even more of an amazing experience for me. The route was Bayshore, the same as my first (and disastrous) 5K. The people, the music, the rain and the fact that I found it so much easier to run along Bayshore this time made it such a special race for me. My time was 31:31 which I was really pleased with. Mike however hated being stuck in the pack and didn't enjoy it at all :(.